February 23, 2018

Ten years past his glory days, why Tiger Woods is still the best thing in golf. New column; plus Panthers embrace of Stoneman Douglas, the incongruous buoyancy of Marlins spring training, latest Back In My Day video (Concerts!) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22. The Dolfans in your life don't know it yet, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out our book, Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, columns on Derek Jeter and Stoneman Douglas shooting, your verdict on Jeter, Dear Greg & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

TigerTEN YEARS PAST HIS  GLORY DAYS, TIGER IS STILL THE GREATEST SHOW IN GOLF: Tiger Woods is playing in this week's Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. I was up there for Thursday's first round -- Tiger shot even-par 70 -- and wrote how loyal his massive support remains even as he hasn't won in a long time. For that column, click: Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed.

Stoneman17PANTHERS RETURN HOME WITH EMBRACE OF STONEMAN DOUGLAS: The Florida Panthers, the local pro team closest both logistically and emotionally to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, tonight plays its first home game since last week's mass shooting that killed 17 at the school. The occasion will be in manhy ways a tribute to the victims of the tragedy. In my latest column I explore the bond between the Panthers and the Parkland community, and marvel at the inspiration arising from the tragedy thanks to student activists now taking on the fight against assault weapons. For that latest column, click: MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts. For my first Stoneman Douglas column in the wake of the shooting, click: Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing. Quick aside: Fascinating, emotional CNN Town Hall from the Panthers arena last night. Give Marco Rubio and the NRA spokesperson this much, at least: They showed up and faced the anger. #NeverAgain 

JeterAN UNEXPECTED AND INCONGRUOUS BUOYANCY AS MARLINS OPEN FULL SPRING TRAINING: You may hate what Derek Jeter (pictured) has done to the Marlins, trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon in the latest fire sale. I hate it, as I wrote in this recent column: Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season. But I was in Jupiter for Monday's start of full spring training and sensed and saw a fresh-start feel, a clubhouse buying in to Jeter's plan. The Captain has instilled in the team the idea this may be  bitter pill but that it was necessary. After slamming Jeter in the aforementioned column, I went up there looking for positives. And found some. For that column, click: Will You Make The Leap Of Faith The Marlins Are Asking?

THE LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': CONCERTS!: The new 'Back In My day' video form Tuesday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio, reminisces about the days when music fans waited in long lines, sometimes overnight, to buy tickets. One note: I made a  mistake. I refer in the video to a Springsteen fan who knows how to sing "Rosalinda's Eyes" backward. That, of course, is a Billy Joel song. I think I was thinking of the Springsteen song, "Rosalita," but misspoke.

Select other recent columns: UM Morally Right, But Will the Force (Majeure) Be With Them? LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami. Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade. Also: Richt Building Something Big & Something To LastDear Canton: Call Zach. Exploring Dolphins' QB QuandaryFarewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerNo Way to Escape Her ShameStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

February 13, 2018

The new 'Back In My Day' video (Strange Signs!); plus LeBron wins in Cavs' mega-trade, but Heat won, too. My column; also, latest Hot Button Top 10, our D.Wade welcome-back trilogy, your Winter Olympics verdict & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13. The Dolfans in your life may not know it yet, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our ultimate franchise history book. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dwyane Wade returns to Heat, rating Hurricanes' Top 10 recruits, Winter Olympics poll & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

THE NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': STRANGE SIGNS!: The latest installment in our BIMD series, from today's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNU:

LEBRON FLEXED HIS POWER AND WON AGAIN ... BUT SO DID THE HEAT: As usual, in-charge LeBron James won big in last week's Cleveland Cavaliers mega-trade. He gets a better team for another run to the NBA Finals. He gets a few months to decide if it's good enough to make him stay. And as a bonus he gets to put a smile on best buddy Dwyane Wade's face. My latest column: Click LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami to read.

Wade3HOMECOMING: THE DWYANE WADE TRILOGY: Dwyane Wade's sudden, unexpected and warmly received return to the Miami Heat by trade this week delighted South Florida. The news was all-ways good. Good for Wade. Good for the Heat. Good for Miami and its fans. Good from an emotional view. And good from a basketball standpoint, too. I responded to the big reunion with three columns: ICYMI, click Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night for my column from the arena Friday night as emotion and applause enveloped No. 3. Click Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 for my middle column on role Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra envision. And click Welcome Home, D.Wade for my initial column reacting to Thursday's trade.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive every-Sunday feature, updated Mondays, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hot1. HEAT: Dwyane Wade returns!: It wasn't a basketball game it was a love-in as Dwyane Wade returned to the Heat after 1 1/2 seasons away and estranged from the club. He scored only three points in his homecoming game but it sounded like 30 as Miami fans showed No. 3 the love. Welcome back, D.Wade. After all, the 3-0-5 starts with what number again?

2. HURRICANES: Mark Richt, UM score top-10 recruiting class: Canes football scored a National Signing Day bounty of 23 players that was ranked No. 8 in the nation by both ESPN and recruiting bible 247sports.com. That's the good news. The bad? One of the schools ranked even higher is the powerhouse team UM must catch in the ACC: Clemson.

3. MARLINS: Decimated Fish prepare to open spring training: The Marlins held their annual FanFest at the stadium Saturday, although we'd call it SadFest after a Derek Jeter fire sale that plundered the roster of its four biggest stars. Now spring training in Jupiter begins this Wednesday with pitchers and catchers reporting. The season outlook is bleak. And that's the positive spin.

4. OLYMPICS: Winter Games underway in South Korea: Curling, skeleton, frostbite -- all of the wintry sports we love are back as the world competes in Pyeongchang. U.S. speedskater Shani Davis skipped the Opening Ceremony after losing a coin flip to be flag bearer. Ah, sportsmanship! 

5. PANTHERS: Erratic Cats still a playoff longshot: Florida has won four of its past five games as it begins a five-game road trip tonight in Edmonton, but the recent hot streak -- OK, tepid, at least -- has not repaired the season outlook. The Panthers are nine points off playoff pace and will need one of Al Michaels' miracles on ice to reach the NHL postseason.

6. UM BASKETBALL: Canes prepare to host No. 2 Virginia: Jim Larranaga's guys can't stand good fortune. They finally climb back into the Top 25 and then lose one they shouldn't  have to Boston College Saturday. Now they host No. 2 Virginia on Tuesday in a gauge-game that will tell us how good the 18-6 Hurricanes really are.

7. SOCCER: Miamian elected president of U.S. Soccer: Carlos Cordeiro, 61, of Miami Beach, was named new president of U.S. Soccer, and is the first Hispanic in the role. Considering the U.S. men's national team men just embarrassingly failed to qualify for this summer's World Cup, he has his work cut out. 

8. NBA: Countdown 6 days 'til All-Star Game: The NBA All-Star Game is next Sunday in Los Angeles, and it'll be Team LeBron James vs. Team Steph Curry in a game sure to include no defense whatsoever. Last year the Western Conference won, 192-182, the highest-scoring ASG ever. The Washington Generals play better D against the Harlem Globetrotters.

9. UM BASEBALL: Jim Morris' final season on deck: Opening Day for Canes baseball is this coming Friday, and it's the final season for longtime coach Jim Morris before retiring. Last year UM's decades-long streak of NCAA Tournament appearances ended. Let's see if Morris can fashion a proper exit for himself. Omaha, anyone?

10. TENNIS: Serena commits to Miami Open: The tournament starts March 19 in its final time on Key Biscayne before moving to Hard Rock Stadium, and the top men and women in the world will be here. That will include new mom Serena Williams in her first major tournament since giving birth five months ago. She could play while holding the baby and still win. 

Missing the HB10 cut: The new NASCAR season begins next Sunday with the Daytona 500. Emotional highlight? How about the final Daytona ride for Danica Patrick? Few athletes have ever been more popular with less winning. That's a compliment. Sort of ..... Everybody seems to think the Patriots dynasty is finished. Well, I should say everybody except the millions whose early bets on next season have made New England the Super Bowl favorite. Again ..... Philadelphia held its championship parade for the Eagles. Really slow parade, though, because all of the players were riding in overturned cars ..... Boston sportswriter Ron Borges catching a lot of heat by being duped into a false story. How about a little heat, please, for the idiot who perpetrated the hoax? ..... There will be a Monster Jam truck event next weekend at Marlins Park. Those are the stupid-big trucks on enormous tires that bounce over dirt hills, the curious popularity of the event verifying what P.T. Barnum said about there being a sucker born every minute.

POLL RESULT: INTEREST IN WINTER OLYMPICS IS LUKEWARM: We asked what best describes your interest level in the Winter Olympics, and results were widely split. It was 35.58 percent "moderate," 30.77% "low," 20.19% "uninterested" and 13.46% "keen." That's low-or-non edging keen-to-moderate by 50.96% to 49.04%.

Select other recent columns: Richt Building Something Big & Something To Last. Dear Canton: Call Zach. 7-7-7. Also: The Historic Super Bowl the NFL NeedsExploring Dolphins' QB QuandaryFarewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamA Heart Both Broken And Soaring Wins PegasusThe Upside Of a Fire SaleAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerAnd Barkov Shall Lead ThemNo Way to Escape Her ShameCanes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

February 07, 2018

Zach Thomas deserves to be in Canton!; plus Hurricanes recruiting bounty (new column), latest Back In My Day video (Flyswatters!), the 3 reasons Pats' McDaniels snubbed Colts, a reason to (sort of, almost) like Marlins & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7. Still celebrating our correct Eagles upset pick in the Super Bowl. Click The Historic Super Bowl the NFL Needs for my column, and Super Bowl Gem for my bull's-eye pick. 2) The Dolfans in your life may not know it yet, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our ultimate franchise history book. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Eagles stun Patriots in Super Bowl, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

New column: On Hurricanes 2018 recruiting class: Click on Richt Building Something Big & Something To Last to read. 

ZachZACH THOMAS DESERVES TO BE IN THE HALL OF FAME: I thought this last year when his longtime Dolphins runningmate Jason Taylor breezed into Canton and Zach once again didn't even make it to the second round in voting. I especially thought it this past weekend when Brian Urlacher was elected in his first year of eligibility and Zach once again was shunned. In my latest column I make the case why Thomas' career stacks up well vs. both Taylor and Urlacher. Click on Dear Canton: Call Zach to read it.

JoshTHE 3 REASONS WHY JOSH MCDANIELS SNUBBED COLTS TO STAY WITH PATRIOTS: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels decided to become the Indianapolis Colts next head coach, then changed his mind, embarrassing Indy. Why? 1) Robert Kraft despises the Colts, the team that ratted out New England over Deflategate, and ordered a financial offer to McDaniels that would keep him. 2) Tom Brady at 40 is healthier and still better than Andrew Luck at 28. And 3) McDaniels is now positioned as heir apparent to Bill Belichick in a way  he was not previously.

SamsonA REASON TO LIKE THE MARLINS, SORT OF: Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill, former club president David Samson and Mr. Marlin, Jeff Conine, just ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. You might dislike the Marlins because of the Derek Jeter fire sale. You might dislike Samson because he was the right-hand man of unpopular owner Jeffrey Loria. But you must admire the extraordinary feat these people just accomplished.  Click on 7-7-7 for the story. (Samson is pictured running in the sixth of seven marathons, on Sunday in Cartagena, Colombia). 

THE NEW BACK IN MY DAY: FLYSWATTERS!: From today's Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio:

Select other recent columns: Exploring Dolphins' QB QuandaryFarewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A Team. Also: A Heart Both Broken And Soaring Wins PegasusThe Upside Of a Fire SaleAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerAnd Barkov Shall Lead ThemNo Way to Escape Her ShameCanes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

January 31, 2018

R.I.P., Bob Rubin, 1941-2018; plus Beckham/MLS Miami soccer poll. Vote now!; also, Super Bowl With A Smirk II, LeBa-palooza, "Get Out Of Your Own Way" (U2) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the podcast from yesterday's LeBatardShow. 2) The Dolfans in your life don't know it, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our franchise history book. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Pegasus World Cup, our Wondrous Weekend & more. 4Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

RubinR.I.P., BOB RUBIN, 1942-2018: Our friend, mentor and longtime former colleague, Bob Rubin, passed away peacefully Tuesday at age 76 following complications from a stroke he'd suffered on Jan. 2. Bob was a Miami herald fixture from 1976 to 2002, mostly as a columnist in tandem with Edwin Pope (who died last January at 88). Rubin is survived by his wife Lena, three grown daughters and four grandsons. I spoke to Bob for the last time one week before he died, and was honored the Herald asked me to write his obituary. Here it is.

MlsmiamiWHERE WILL MLS MIAMI SOCCER RANK AMONG OUR BIG 5 PRO TEAMS IN YOUR INTEREST LEVEL?: We got the Miami Dolphins first (1966), the Miami Heat next (1988), then the Miami Marlins and Florida Panthers together (1993). For a quarter century it's been our Big Four professional team sports in South Florida. Now, make room for one more. It was confirmed Monday that as-yet-unnamed team fronted by David Beckham will join Major League Soccer for the 2020 season. Click on Beckham's Dream Becomes A Team for my column. This will make ours one of only 10 U.S. cities or metropolitan regions with all of the Big Five teams -- football, baseball, basketball hockey and soccer. And there is no doubt that booming MLS qualifies as the fifth league in stature. My question: Where will MLS soccer arrive on our interest scale? Top? Middle? Bottom? Imagine it is two years from now, and Beckham's team is readying for its inaugural season. One through five relative to the Dolphins, Heat, Marlins and Panthers, where will your interest in Miami MLS soccer land? Vote now!

LebatardIT'S LEBAPALOOZA! LEBA-FEST?: This is exciting. I mean it. This sounds like a great Miami event, combining Dan Le Batard's imprint on Miami and national sports and the mark of his brother Dave (a.k.a Lebo) in local-and-beyond art circles. Throw in music and it's a can't-miss. And since the whole thing is driven by the popularity of Dan's national ESPN Radio show (which I co-host every Tuesday), I'm honored to be a very small part of this extravaganza. (Picture booth? With me?) It is called "Made In Miami: A Celebration Of Music, Art And Sports in Miami," and it is March 10 from 6 p.m. 'til midnight at Blackbird Ordinary. Get many more details by visiting LeBatardBrothers.com. (Click on image at right to see much larger version).

Smirk

 

 

CELEBRATE SUPER BOWL WITH A SMIRK WEEK IN MIAMI!: It's Super Bowl Week and that means Super Bowl With A Smirk is back in the Miami Herald for five daily notes columns. Join us as we merrily poke fun at the self-important NFL and the gravitas of its big game. Smirk III lands later today. So far:

Smirk I: Unlike-A-Bowl -- Starring two teams you'd rather see both lose, played in a city you'd only visit in winter if you lost a bet.

Smirk II: TV Ads -- Angry Clydesdale Chases Screaming Betty White. The time it took to read that previous sentence cost $588,000.

Latest other columns: Beckham realizes MLS Miami dream: Click Beckham's Dream Becomes A Team for column from Monday's news that Miami will join Major League Soccer in 2020. Other most recent columns: A Heart Both Broken And Soaring Wins Pegasus (Gulfstream's world's richest horse race). The Upside Of a Fire Sale (Lewis Brinson becoming face of Marlins' reboot). Appreciating Wayne Huizenga. And When Victims Seize The Power (Larry Nassar/USA Gymnastics trial).

BECAUSE IT'S A GREAT SONG, AND IT SAYS SOMETHING: Without getting too political here, I thought U2's Grammy performance the other night of their song, "Get Out Of Your Own Way" was triumphant. The backdrop of the Statue of Liberty was perfectly suited to  the lyrics, and the chorus won't leave my head. A great song that says something. See if you agree.

Select other columns: For Dolphins, Hope and Frustration in Final FourAnd Barkov Shall Lead ThemNo Way to Escape Her ShameAre the Fins Feeling Bold? Canes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

January 25, 2018

On Yelich trade, bolstered state of Marlins farm system (with column); plus Hoffman becomes Marlins' 5th (sort of) Hall of Famer, an appreciation of G.O.A.T. Brady and Patriots, your 'will vs. want' Super Bowl verdicts & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's THURSDAY, JANUARY 25. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast of this week's LeBatard Show. 2) The Dolfans in your life don't know it, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our franchise history book. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Patriots-Eagles Super Bowl polls, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

BrinsonNOW YELICH. THE ONE UPSIDE OF JETER'S MARLINS' FIRE SALE: Derek Jeter is gutting the Marlins payroll. No doubt. No equivocating it. The latest sign: Thursday's trade of Christian Yelich to Milwaukee for four prospects. But if there is an upside to the fire sale it's that trading away high-priced talent for prospects is, naturally, bolstering the club's barren minor-league farm system. Evidence appears in Baseball America's new 2018 Top 100 MLB Prospects list. A year ago Miami had zero players on this list. Now there are four. The Yelich trade brought No. 18 overall in outfielder Lewis Brinson (pictured) and No. 75 in outfielder Monte Harrison. Brinson is Fort Lauderdale-born and played at Coral Springs High.  Click On The Upside Of a Fire Sale for my Brinson-themed latest column. Previously, No. 70, righty pitcher Sandy Alcantara was acquired in the trade that sent Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis, and No. 87, RHP Jorge Guzman, was obtained from the Yankees in the Giancarlo Stanton deal. The Marlins still lag a bit in the NL East based on the list, though. The Braves place eight prospects including No. 1 overall, the Phillies have five including No. 16, and the Nationals have a pair including No. 5. At the rear: the Mets, whose only ranked prospect is 94th. 

ThoffmanHOFFMAN ELECTED TO CONTINUE MARLINS TRADITION OF 'SORT OF' HALL OF FAMERS: This evening's announcement of the latest Baseball Hall of Fame Class to be voted in by BBWAA members (including myself) included four new guys: Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero and Jim Thome swept in easily, and Trevor Hoffman made it more narrowly. Edgar Martinez, who some vote-tracking websites had as making it, narrowly missed. Also close but no: Mike Mussina, followed by steroids guys Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, whose support continues to climb every year. The relief ace and closer Hoffman began his career with the expansion then-Florida Marlins in 1993 as a rookie (pictured) before being traded to San Diego at midseason. He becomes the fifth player in Cooperstown to have worn a Marlins uniform, although none have entered the Hall under a Fish cap or played more than a small percentage of their overall careers in Miami. Marlins Hall of Famers (well, sort of) ranked by the percentage of their career games played with Marlins:

Hall of Famer           Miami years      Marlins share

Pudge Rodriguez         2003               6.23% (161 games of 2,583)

Andre   Dawson          1995-96           4.58% (121 games of 2,642)

Tim Raines                 2002               3.86% (98 games of 2,536)

Trevor Hoffman          1993               2.67% (28 games of 1,047)

Mike Piazza                1998               0.26% (5 games of 1,944)

Note: If you are wondering about likely future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera, he'd be the "most Marlin" in Cooperstown. His Marlins share at the moment would be 32.31% (737 games of 2,281). Ichiro's Marlins share is 16.27% (432 games of 2,655).

BradygoatIN APPRECIATION OF THE BRADY/PATRIOTS RUN: It's a rite of winter every time this year in American sports: Complaining that Tom Brady and the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl. "Not again! Bor-ring!" It is driven by envy because 31 other NFL teams wish they had what New England does. But instead of scorn, the Pats deserve appreciation. What Brady and this franchise have done this century may not be seen again in this league for generations. Click on Set Aside Envy And Appreciate Greatness for my latest column.

Other most recent columns: His legacy needs a reboot, because South Florida's single most influential sports owner is too often remembered derisively. Click Appreciating Wayne Huizenga to read. (And thanks to Sports Illustrated/MMQB for the shoutout)  ///  The empowerment of the #MeToo movement was crushing Dr. Larry Nassar this week in the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal, and it was awesome to see. Click When Victims Seize The Power (Thanks to Sarah Spain and others for the kind words).

POLL RESULTS: YOU THINK PATRIOTS WILL WIN SUPER BOWL, BUT WANT EAGLES: No surprises either way on this one. We asked who you think WILL win the Super Bowl, and it was 64.57 percent New England. We asked who you most WANT to win, and it was 72.90% Philadelphia. 

Select other recent columns: For Dolphins, Hope and Frustration in Final FourAnd Barkov Shall Lead ThemNo Way to Escape Her ShameAre the Fins Feeling Bold? Also: Canes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksLatest Drama in Bizarre, Trying SeasonJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

January 04, 2018

What was biggest national sports story of 2017? Annual poll. Ten finalists, you pick top 3. Last day to vote!; plus final Herald NFL QB rankings, final college SOPY standings, latest Back In My Day video (Apple Watches) & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's THURSDAY, JANUARY 4. How long should one keep saying "Happy new year." I say one week. Speaking of the new year, what a perfect time to treat the Dolfans in your life to my book on the club's first half century! Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and check out Fins At 50. 2) So honored to have received the 2017 Orange Bowl Edwin Pope Media Award over the weekend. Thanks again, OB. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) final rankings later today. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose finale to Buffalo with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

MaeribackRest in peace, Mae Riback: I'm sorry to say that the dear reader and "my oldest fan" whom I wrote about in March passed away peacefully a few days ago at age 104. Click here for the tale of how me came to meet. R.I.P., Tiny.

 

YOU PICK THE 2017 NATIONAL SPORTS STORY OF THE YEAR: Welcome to our annual year-in-review vote on the biggest sports story in America. The top 10 stories in this Nattystorypoll are not mine; they are from The Associated Press official annual ranking for the calendar year. I list them alphabetically here, not in Nationalstorythe 1 through 10 order of The AP's selection, so as not to prejudice the jury. I want this to be your independent vote and not influenced by The AP's rank. I am purposely not including a synopsis of each story, because if the ballot phrase alone is not sufficient, the story mustn't have been that big or important to you. VOTE FOR YOUR TOP THREE and check back often to monitor evolving results. And remember, this is a national list, so please consider your vote in that broad context. Soon, following our national vote, we'll offer a separate poll to choose 2017's biggest Greater Miami/South Florida sports story. For now, let's go nationwide. A year ago, you voted the Cubs' World Series win the No. 1 national sports story, followed by LeBron James leading Cleveland to the NBA title and the death of Muhammad Ali. What will reign for '17? You decide. Vote now. We'll keep the poll open three days and announce results on Friday as we present the local poll. 

Vote for the top three (3) biggest national sports stories of 2017 in the poll below. You may also vote online by clicking HERE:

Deciphering a 3-vote ballot: A three-vote ballot means that, theoretically, if everyone cast the maximum three votes, no one story could receive more than 33.3 percent of the vote. It also means the vote totals can be tripled to give an indication of how many ballots that story is included on. In other words, a story drawing 20 percent would have been included on about 60% of ballots.

BradyBRADY EDGES BREES IN CLOSEST FINISH EVER FOR HERALD NFL QB CROWN: The Patriots' Tom Brady edges the Saints' Drew Brees by less than one full point, 554.80 to 553.90 — the closest finish in our rankings' 20-year history — to win the Miami Herald's 2017 NFL quarterback championship. The season title is Brady's second and first since 2007. Brees is the all-time leader with seven crowns. Dolphin Jay Cutler finishes in 24th place, just making our final Top 25 chart. The Chargers' Philip Rivers wins Week 17 to end in sixth place overall. Our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings began in 1998 and the formula has been unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL’s and ESPN’s are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching.

The final Top 25 for 2017:

Rk Lw Player, Team                  Wk17      Season

1   1   Tom Brady, NE                19.50      554.80

2   2   Drew Brees, NO              29.25      553.90

3   5   Matthew Stafford, DET    41.15     501.30

4   3   Alex Smith, KC                 DNP      487.10

5   4   Ben Roethlisberger, PIT     DNP      473.55

6   9   Philip Rivers, LAC            52.35     469.75

7   8   Case Keenum, MIN           30.45     450.35

8 10   Russell Wilson, SEA          24.05     438.15

9   6   Kirk Cousins, WAS             1.90      435.65

10 11 Matt Ryan, ATL                34.85     433.75

11 7  Jared Goff, LAR                DNP       424.45

12 12 Carson Wentz, PHI            DNP      386.80

13 14 Joe Flacco, BAL              16.15      370.05

14 13 Blake Bortles, JAC           -2.10      365.35

15 15 Dak Prescott, DAL           20.95      363.85

16 16 Derek Carr, OAK              22.15     362.80

17 18 Eli Manning, NYG             3.60      339.40

18 21 Andy Dalton, CIN            27.10     338.00

19 17 Josh McCown, NYJ           DNP      336.30

20 20 Jameis Winston, TB        22.15     336.20

21 19 Cam Newton, CAR          -3.00      328.10

22 23 Tyrod Taylor, BUF           29.20     315.95

23 22 Marcus Mariota, TEN      17.70     309.60

24 24 Jay Cutler, MIA                0.30     278.30

25 25 Jacoby Brissett, IND       18.70    275.90

Week 17 Best: Rivers, LAC, 52.35 (28-37, 387, 3-0 in win). Season Best: Roethlisberger, PIT, 58.30 (Wk14). Record BestRoethlisberger, PIT, 80.10 (2014).

Week 17 WorstNick Foles, PHI, minus-4.05 (4-11, 39, 0-1 in loss). Season Worst: Nathan Peterman, BUF, minus-13.70 (Wk 11). Record WorstTim Hasselbeck, WAS, minus-23.20 (2003).

Most championshipsBrees, NO, 7; Peyton Manning IND/DEN, 6.

Season recordManning, DEN, 714.85 (2013). Dolphins season record: Ryan Tannehill, 481.25 (2014).

FLOWERS TOPS MILTON FOR HERALD STATE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR!: [Click HERE to see this online] South Florida Bulls quarterback Quinton Flowers (pictured, from Miami Jackson High) edges UCF counterpart QfMcKenzie Milton as the Miami Herald’s 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year — the “state Heisman” for our seven top-level Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college teams. Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier finishes third in the final rankings, followed closely by FAU running back Devin Singletary. The top-finishing receiver, eighth overall, is UCF’s Tre’Quan Smith. The do-it-all, dual-threat Flowers passed for 2,911 yards and 25 touchdowns, while running for 1,078 yards and 11 TDs. The final Top 25 shows balance among the seven schools, with five players from UCF and South Florida making it, and three each from Miami, Florida State, Florida, FAU and FIU. Our weekly SOPY rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state’s seven FBS teams. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game, or total points divided by the number of games a player’s team has played. This keeps the comparison even because not all teams play the same number of games. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown.

The 2017 FINAL TOP 25 (including bowls):

RK Player, School-Pos.                            Avg.       Total (Games)

1. Quinton Flowers, SoFla qb                  229.13    2,749.5 (12)

2. McKenzie Milton, UCF qb                    223.19    2,901.5 (13)

3. Malik Rosier, Miami qb                       171.27     2,226.5 (13)

4. Devin Singletary, FAU rb                     165.79     2,321 (14)

5. Alex McGough, FIU qb                        135.08     1,756 (13)

6. Jason Driskel, FAU qb                         118.25    1,655.5 (14)

7. Cam Akers, FSU rb                             100.27    1,303.5 (13)

8. Tre’Quan Smith, UCF rec                     98.31    1,278 (13)

9. Travis Homer, Miami rb                        95.69    1,244 (13)

10. James Blackman, FSU qb                   91.54    1,190 (13)

11. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, SoFla rec  85.75    1,029 (12)

12. Darius Tice, SoFla rb                         85.17    1,022 (12)

13. D’Ernest Johnson, SoFla rb                83.58    1,003 (12)

14. Adrian Killins, UCF rb                        79.62    1,035 (13)

15. Jacques Patrick, FSU rb                    73.92       961 (13)

16. Thomas Owens, FIU rec                    72.73       945.5 (13)

17. Feleipe Franks, Florida qb                71.27       784 (11)

18. Alex Gardner, FIU rb                         69.00      897 (13)

19. Otis Anderson, UCF rec                    68.23       887 (13)

20. Lamical Perrine, Florida rb               63.36      697 (11)

21. Tyre McCants, SoFla rec                   63.17      758 (12)

22. Willie Wright, FAU rec                      59.86      838 (14)

23. Dredrick Snelson, UCF rec                58.46      760 (13)

24. Braxton Berrios, Miami rec               57.00      741 (13)

25. Malik Davis, Florida rb                     54.18      596 (11)

Cote’s State of the State final rankings: 1. UCF (13-0); 2. Miami (10-3); 3. South Florida (10-2); 4. FAU (11-3); 5. Florida State (7-6); 6. FIU (8-5); 7. Florida (4-7).

LATEST BACK IN MY DAY: APPLE WATCHES!: Here  it is, from yesterday's LeBatard Show:


Select recent columns: Canes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Also: Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Adam Gase Must Find A WayTruex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaCanes-Irish: Game For The Ages. Appreciate Perfection -- PeriodThe Godfather SpeaksLatest Drama in Bizarre, Trying SeasonBack On Track & Ready To Roar. Jeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 29, 2017

NFL Week 17 picks for Dolphins-Bills and the rest; plus thank you Orange Bowl Committee, our Canes/OB column, year-in-review polls coming & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29. Need a late gift for the Dolfans in your life? Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and check out my historical book, Fins At 50. 2) Sorry we haven't had as many general sports columns lately. Been burning a slew of leftover vacation time this month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games involving state FBS teams. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): My baseball Hall of Fame ballot, my first grandchild, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Herald NFL QB rankings & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Hurricanes back in OB game, where UM first got America's attention 34 years ago: Click Where The Swagger Was Born for my latest column, on Miami's first Orange Bowl game appearance in 14 years.

Thank you, Orange Bowl Committee: At today's OB coaches luncheon at the Hilton Downtown Miami I was honored to receive the 2017 Edwin Pope Orange Bowl Media Award. Honored because I respect the Orange Bowl Committee's good works, and especially because the award is named for my friend, longtime colleague and mentor who passed away last January. Thanks to all. Click HERE for the story the Herald was king enough to write.

FripixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 17 PICKS: DOLPHINS END ROTTEN SEASON IN SPOILER ROLE. ON MIAMI-BUFFALO AND THE REST: Nine of NFL's 12 playoff teams have been claimed, with six teams alive for the final three spots entering Sunday's regular season finales. Alas, the Dolphins are not among them, relegated to a spoiler role, trying to deny visiting Buffalo its first playoff berth since 1999. Will Miami do it to end a disappointing season on the upbeat? Click Week 17 Gems for my full Dolphins-Bills predix capsule, my Game of the Week (Panthers-Falcons), Upset of the Week (49ers-Rams: "Aawwk!") and the rest.

ANNUAL YEAR-IN-REVIEW POLLS COMING: Soon, in the blog and also online, we'll invite you to vote for what was the biggest national sports story of 2017, and then separately for the biggest Miami/South Florida sports story of the year. Watch for the National poll starting Tuesday Jan. 2 and the Miami poll starting Friday Jan. 5.

 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 28, 2017

Babies 'n Baseball: My official Hall of Fame ballot for Cooperstown revealed here, and so is newest addition to Cote family; plus NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, updated Herald NFL QB rankings & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

Xmas171) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28. ICYMI, click HOHOHERE to watch our annual Christmas video, starring me, Derek Jeter, Smokin' Jay Cutler and two others. Oh, and if you need a late gift for the Dolfans in your life, click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and buy my historical book, Fins At 50. 2) Sorry we haven't had as many general sports columns lately. Burning a slew of leftover vacation time this month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games involving state FBS teams. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins eliminated in loss at Chiefs with our takeaways and postgame poll, Merry Christmas video, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Yours truly wins Orange Bowl/Pope award: Pleased to say I am the the 2017 winner of the Edwin Pope Orange Bowl Vanguard Media Award. Honored because I respect the Orange Bowl Committee's good works. Especially honored because the honor is named for my great friend and mentor who passed away last January. Thanks to all. Click HERE for the story the Herald was king enough to write.

BbballotIN THE NAME OF TRANSPARENCY: MY OFFICIAL 2018 BASEBALL HALL OF FAME BALLOT: As a voting member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, I cast my Hall of Fame ballot the other day to meet the Dec. 31 deadline. Mailed it in an envelope. They do it old-school up in Cooperstown! There were 33 men on the ballot including 19 in their first year of eligibility. I could Bbhallvote for as many as 10. I ended up voting for nine, including two ballot "rookies." The seven holdovers who got my votes were (alphabetically) Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Edgar Martinez, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield. The two first-time-eligibles I voted for were Chipper Jones and Jim Thome. If I had to bet I'd say Jones, Thomas, Guerrero and maybe Hoffman will get in. Support for Bonds and Clemens is steadily growing but they may be a year or two away. My own thought on voting for perhaps the two biggest faces of the so-called Steroids Era: I no longer believe any association with PEDs should be an automatic life sentence in terms of reaching Cooperstown -- not if the career resume' is so outstanding, as with Bonds and Clemens, that there is reasonable cause to think they'd have been Hall-good even without the help. I do continue to think, as I always say and have written, that their bronze Hall of Fame plaques should mention the controversy that kept Bonds and Clemens out for so long. Same with Pete Rose and gambling, should he ever be allowed back on the ballot and be voted in as he should.

GrandpapI'M A GRANDPA! (THAT MEANS I'M OFFICIALLY OLD. ALSO HAPPY AND BLESSED): I normally don't get real personal here in the blog but I posted this photo on Twitter yesterday and it has gotten well over 4,000 likes so I thought I'd share it here as well. This is me, on Christmas Day, holding my first grandchild for the first time. I could not be happier that my son Christopher and his wife Christie have invited this joy into their lives and given this miracle for both of their families to share. Sorry, Tonka Tank, but this bumps you as the greatest Christmas gift I have ever received.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 16 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 16: Herald picks: Went a solid 12-4 overall but a just marginally OK 7-8-1 against the spread, with the Eagles win pushing for the tie. Had Titans with the points (but not outright) in my  Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!"), and also had 'dog Seahawks with points. Greg's Lobos: Alas, the 'Bos had been eliminated in the league semifinals the previous week, losing to eventual champion Allyson. #GurleyMen #WeAreTheLobos

BB GUNS: IT'S BRADY VS. BREES FOR SEASON CROWN: HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS: WEEK 16: The Ravens’ Joe Flacco wins Week 16 with a 42.85-point game, lowest winning total of the season, in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. But the Bradybreesbiggest story is that it’s down to Patriot Tom Brady vs. Saint Drew Brees for the season crown with one week to go. Brady’s margin over Brees is only 10.65 points. And it looks like we’ll get full games from both in their finales, with the Patriots needing a win to assure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the Saints needing a win to assure the NFC South title. Third-place Alex Smith of the Chiefs is realistically out of contention. For any chance he’d need a gargantuan game coupled with awful games by both Brady and Brees. Lower in the chart, the Dolphins’ Jay Cutler holds steady in 24th place. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL’s and ESPN’s are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching.

The Top 20 plus Dolphins entering Week 17:

RK LW  Player, Team                       Wk16       Season

1    1   Tom Brady, NE                     33.20       535.30

2    2   Drew Brees, NO                   30.95       524.65

3    3   Alex Smith, KC                    34.20       487.10

4    5   Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        33.30       473.55

5    4   Matthew Stafford, DET        13.15       460.15

6    6   Kirk Cousins, WAS                26.95       433.75

7  11  Jared Goff, LAR                    38.05      424.45

8   7   Case Keenum, MIN                17.95      419.90

9   9   Philip Rivers, LAC                 26.50      417.40

10 8   Russell Wilson, SEA               22.65      414.10

11 12 Matt Ryan, ATL                     22.40      398.90

12 10 Carson Wentz, PHI                 DNP       386.80

13 13 Blake Bortles, JAC                30.10      367.45

14 19 Joe Flacco, BAL                    42.85      353.90

15 16 Dak Prescott, DAL                 11.10      342.90

16 15 Derek Carr, OAK                     5.00      340.65

17 14 Josh McCown, NYJ                 DNP       336.30

18 17 Eli Manning, NYG                 16.15       335.80

19 18 Cam Newton, CAR                17.00       331.10

20 21 Jameis Winston, TB              36.35       314.05

24 24 Jay Cutler, MIA                     17.30       278.00

Bubble: Andy Dalton, CIN, 310.90. Week 16 Best: Flacco, BAL, 42.85 (29-38, 237, 2-0 in win). Week 16 Worst: Brett Hundley, GB, minus-5.50 (17-40, 130, 0-2 in loss).

 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

December 20, 2017

A few thoughts on Jeter's Marlins 'town hall' meeting; plus should fans of Dolphins, Heat, Marlins or Panthers be saddest? Poll. Vote now; also, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy results, Herald QB rankings, Shameless Book Plug, FAU goes bowling & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20. See previous blogpost for results of latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter poll. Not pretty. 2) Click Stanton Had All the Power -- And Used It for our most recent general column. Sorry we haven't had as many lately. Burning a slew of leftover vacation time this  month. 3) Watch for our season-ending college State Offensive Player of the Year (SOPY) results following all of the bowl games. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fizzle in Buffalo with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

"Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl and I won't pretend to, but I will say Ndamukong Suh should have joined Reshad Jones as a Dolphins selection." -- Greg Cote 

A FEW THOUGHTS ON JETER'S MARLINS 'TOWN HALL': Happily, I did not attend the Derek Jeter "town hall" Q&A session with Marlins season-ticket holders last night, but have spoken with Jetertownhallfolks who were there, have read the accounts and would share a few thoughts. First, it was smart of Jeter to do, and and necessary. He has been the sniper-owner, making unpopular deals from a safe bunker and in hiding. Last night, he showed his face. It was a start. Second, fans need a forum to vent, to voice displeasure. It was a win-win for Jeter because there would be the appearance of openness and transparency without there actually being any. Jeter said a lot without saying much. No details of the master "plan" were shared. I did find interesting that Jeter justified the Giancarlo Stanton deal by emphasizing the Marlins gained $260 million in contract relief to help the club move forward. Hmm. Wouldn't/shouldn't saving $260M on Stanton have allowed the club to then not trade Marcell Ozuna, and not consider trading Christian Yelich? Shouldn't that $260M "saving" be put back into the team by either using it to keep the best remaining players or to be a major player in free agency? Or is that windfall of "saving" just going to pay off corporate debt or enrich the owners? Finally, I laughed out loud (LOL!) at reporters who were there actually interviewing Marlins Man as if he were a news source, not just the grandstanding fan who stood behind the mic last night and asked Jeter, "Do you know who I am?" Marlins Man. Puh-leeze. It would be like, back in the day, interviewing Dolfan Denny about the Dolphins' words. C'mon, media.

SadnessWHAT SOUTH FLORIDA TEAM'S FANS SHOULD BE SADDEST RIGHT NOW?: I refer a lot to Greater Miami's "Big 5" teams -- our four major pro franchises plus Canes football. Obviously in this poll I don't include UM, which is preparing for an Orange Bowl date with Wisconsin to cap the Hurricanes' first 10-win season since 2003. But our four pro teams are fair game for the dubious "most disappointing" crown that would have their fans saddest. The Marlins of course are in mid-fire sale/dismantling as the new Derek Jeter regime proves roughly as popular as the old Jeffrey Loria era. The Panthers are en route to making it a 21st consecutive season of either not making the NHL playoffs or not winning a postseason series. The Heat continue in post-Big 3 malaise, a starless doldrums, hanging around .500, with fans who became accustomed to thinking championship now relegated to hoping for a low playoff seed. And the Dolphins are back to mediocrity after last year's aberrant bump. I will volunteer that I think Heat fans have the least cause for sadness, but that the other three are in the mix. But his is your say. As you consider this poll question consider it literally: Which team's fans have the most cause right now to be the saddest?

Finsat50 Finsat50SHAMELESS BOOK PLUG! AND JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!: Know any Dolfans on your holiday shopping list? Of course you do. And that means you know Dolfans who are so sick of the current team they'd rather marinate in the heydays of Shula and Marino. Well I just so happen to have a book on the franchise's first half-century, called Fins At 50. Talk about a perfect gift! And reasonably priced, too. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to go directly to those site's page om the book to order and to learn more about it. You'll be glad you did, friend.

BRADY'S LEAD SHRINKS, CUTLER RETREATS / HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 15: The 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo wins Week 15 with a 46.05-point game while Patriot Tom Brady's overall lead shrinks further in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. Brady's margin over second place Drew Brees of the Saints has narrowed to only 8.40 points with two games to play. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler slips three spots, down to 24th place. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 20 plus Dolphins entering Week 16:

RK LW Player, Team                 WK15      Season

1    1  Tom Brady, NE               28.90       502.10

2    2  Drew Brees, NO             38.25       493.70

3    3  Alex Smith, KC              38.55       452.90

4    5  Matthew Stafford, DET  39.85       447.00

5    4  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT  31.05      440.25

6    9  Kirk Cousins, WAS          30.80       406.80

7  11  Case Keenum, MIN         39.80       401.95

8    7  Russell Wilson, SEA         8.10       391.45

9    8  Philip Rivers, LAC           9.35       390.90

10  6  Carson Wentz, PHI          DNP       386.80

11 10 Jared Goff, LAR            21.00       386.40

12 12 Matt Ryan, ATL              21.60      376.50

13 16 Blake Bortles, JAC         43.30      337.35

14 13 Josh McCown, NYJ          DNP       336.30

15 14 Derek Carr, OAK            18.55      335.65

16 15 Dak Prescott, DAL         18.60      331.80

17 20 Eli Manning, NYG          44.70      319.65

18 19 Cam Newton, CAR        38.10      314.10

19 18 Joe Flacco, BAL            32.40      311.05

20 17 Andy Dalton, CIN           -0.35      281.00

24 21 Jay Cutler, MIA             11.70      260.70

Bubble: Jameis Winston, TB, 277.70. Week 15 Best: Jimmy Garoppolo, SF, 46.05 (31-43, 381, 1-0 in win). Week 15 Worst: Blaine Gabbert, ARI, minus-2.55 (16-41, 189, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 15 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 15: Herald picks: Went a nifty 13-3 overall but a just-OK 6-7-3 against the spread, with the wins by Patriots, Niners and Cowboys all pushing for the ties. Called the Chiefs' mini-upset of Rams and also had a pair of dogs-with-points in Jets and Giants. Greg's Lobos: We're done. The 'Bos reached the semifinals of a 14-team league (not bad) before falling to Allyson in a shootout, 157.7-139, despite 45 points from Todd Gurley. #GurleyMen #LobosMVP.
 
OWLS ON THE PROWL: FAU SMACKS AKRON IN BOWL: For only the third time in its 14-year history as an FBS-level football program, Florida Atlantic University played in a bowl game last night, hosting Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl, and winning in a 50-3 rout. The Owls were big three-touchdown home favorites to finish the season 11-3 under first-year coach Lane Kiffin and behind the running of Devin Singletary, and showed why. Kiffin earlier in the day signed a six-year contract extension. Still doubting he's an Owls lifer, but good for now. I'll say this: I'd love to see this traditionally overshadowed program get some love now with a final, post-bowls Top 25 ranking. They deserve the consideration.
 
 
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

November 29, 2017

Canes No. 7 in new CFP poll, with my column; plus Tom still Terrific in Herald's latest NFL QB rankings, Week 12 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Bull in charge as SOPY race enters college postseason & more

GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.

1) It's WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29. See previous blogpost for latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter result. It still stinks. 2) Holiday season? That can only mean one thing: Giving the Dolfans on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall at New England with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

Canes No. 7 (as expected) in new CFP poll: Hurricanes -- installed at No. 7 last night in new College Football Playoff ranking -- are the biggest Power 5 conference championship-game underdog as they prepare to face Clemson as 9 1/2-point 'dogs. But that's the bad news and the good news for UM. Click on The Fuel Of Doubt for my newest column.

BRADY EXPANDS SEASON LEAD, RIVERS WINS WEEK / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 12: [Click HERE for the online version of this] The Chargers' Philip Rivers (pictured) wins Week 12 with a 56.70- Priverspoint game on Thanksgiving -- second-best of the season -- while Patriot Tom Brady expands his overall season lead in the Miami Herald’s NFL quarterback rankings. Can anyone catch Tom Terrific? The Saints' Drew Brees is closest, but trails by almost 50 points with five weeks to play. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler holds steady in 24th place despite not playing (concussion), while Matt Moore inches up one spot to 37th. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching.
 
HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / Top 20 plus Dolphins
RK LW Player, Team                Wk12   Season
1   1    Tom Brady, NE               33.35   432.65
2   2    Drew Brees, NO             27.30   384.45
3   3    Alex Smith, KC              19.95   357.65
4   4    Kirk Cousins, WAS          27.10   337.90
5   5    Russell Wilson, SEA        25.40   332.45
6   7    Matt Ryan, ATL              40.85   330.20
7   6    Matthew Stafford, DET   20.50   324.50
8   8    Carson Wentz, PHI         35.35   323.85
9 10  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT  49.55   320.40
10  9   Jared Goff, LAR             38.70   313.45
11 14 Philip Rivers, LAC           56.70   305.40
12 11   Josh McCown, NYJ        26.35   296.45
13 12 Case Keenum, MIN          37.10   295.80
14 16 Derek Carr, OAK             35.65   272.20
15 15 Dak Prescott, DAL           15.55   256.50
16 18 Andy Dalton, CIN           29.70   251.60
17 13 Eli Manning, NYG             1.65   250.55
18 19 Tyrod Taylor, BUF          26.15   244.25
19 17 Cam Newton, CAR          7.40    241.00
20  21 Joe Flacco, BAL            20.05   222.75
24 24 Jay Cutler, MIA               DNP   188.10
37 38 Matt Moore, MIA            19.75     72.05
BubbleMarcus Mariota, TEN, 219.65. Week 12 BestRivers, LAC, 56.70 (27-33, 434, 3-0 in win). Week 12 WorstManning, NYG, 1.65 (13-27, 113, 0-1 in loss).

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 12 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and Fripix Loboswith my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league.  WEEK 12: Herald picks: Went an OK 10-6 overall in what I think was a fairly easy week, but got clobbered again against the spread, going an embarrassing 5-11 vs. the evil betting line. Had Bills-with-points over Kansas City but not much else to speak of. Here's how tough it can be: I picked Pats to beat Fins 31-17 and Pats won 35-17. Pretty close, right? But not close enough ATS on a 16 1/2-point line. Greg's Lobos: Ouch. Got spanked by Stugotz, 124.9 to 110.8. Put six in double figures but seldom a good thing when your tight end (Kyle Rudolph) is your leading scorer. But the Lobos still are 7-4 and sitting pretty for one of eight playoff spots (tie-4th) with one week left in regular season. Can clinch with a win, or on tiebreaker with a loss. #GoLobosGo

SOPY RANKINGS / WEEK 13EPIC FLOWERS-MILTON DUEL (ALL BUT) DECIDES SEASON TITLE: Though unbeaten UCF beat South Florida 49-42, Bulls quarterback Quinton Flowers outdueled Knights counterpart McKenzie Milton to grow what now seems an insurmountable lead in the Herald's 2017 State Sopy FlowersOffensive Player of the Year race. Flowers (pictured), Miami-born and from Jackson High, had a season-best 383.5-point game to Milton's 272.5. Both are comfortably ahead of third-place Malik Rosier of the Hurricanes. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison even because not all teams have played the same number of games at the same time. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown. The SOPY race continues beyond the regular season -- through this week's conference-championship games, bowl games and also the CFP playoffs.
 
SOPY Top 10 entering Week 14
RK LW  Player, School-Pos.               Average    Total points (Games)
1    1   Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb       223.45      2,458 (11)
2    2   McKenzie Milton-UCF qb         208.68      2,295.5 (11)
3    3   Malik Rosier-Miami qb            182.18       2,004 (11)
4    4   Devin Singletary-FAU rb          165.00      1,980 (12)
5    5   Alex McGough-FIU qb             132.36       1,456 (11)
6    8   Jason Driskel-FAU qb              106.33       1,276 (12)
7    6   Travis Homer-Miami rb            103.00       1,133 (11)
8    7   Cam Akers-FSU rb                    96.41       1,060.5 (11)
 10   Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec           92.36        1,016 (11)
10 --    Darius Tice-SoFla rb                 87.00          957 (11)
BubbleAdrian Killins-UCF rb, 86.09. Other team leader: Feleipe Franks-Florida qb, 71.27Week 12 best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 383.5 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 383.5 (W13).
Cote's State of the State rankings: 1. Miami (10-1); 2. UCF (11-0); 3. South Florida (9-2); 4. Florida State (5-6); 5. FAU (9-3); 6. Florida (4-7); 7. FIU (7-4).
 

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote